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Plans unveiled for Black River Trail extension

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:30 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Black River Trail is a Jefferson County haven for bikers, walkers, runners, and our furry friends.

The scenic route stretches five miles from the city of Watertown to just outside the village of Black River.

One of the plans is to extend it from there to Fort Drum and then to Carthage.

Thursday night, a big focus was connecting to Drum.

“It’s been a long-term priority to connect the Black River Trail to Fort Drum,” Watertown city planner Geoffrey Urda said. “It’s our biggest recreational asset to the area.”

Barton and Loguidice began a planning study last winter, looking at possible trail routes.

“A lot of public outreach, a lot of field work, a lot of engineering design, a lot of environmental investigations,” said Keith Ewald from Barton and Loguidice. “Basically, we looked at several alternatives taking into account all those different criteria. The study makes a few primary recommendations as the most viable, feasible alternatives.”

One option out of four was preferred. Developers explained to the public Thursday why.

“This particular alternative was favorable because it’s either on a public road right of way, or it’s on state parks right of way,” Ewald said.

Diane Covell runs the trail every day. She’s says she likes the route picked.

“It’ll be less evasive and more natural,” she said. “Closer to the river.”

Potential trail options were also shown for extensions to Carthage and going the other direction, from Watertown to Dexter.

The construction will be done bit by bit as grant money is secured and each extension is planned.

Developers unveiled their preferred option for expanding the Black River Trail Thursday night.
Developers unveiled their preferred option for expanding the Black River Trail Thursday night.(WWNY)

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